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HGTV Design Star Season 7 finalist Jordan Cappella has my wheels turning in anticipation. This dude werrrrrks. He’s a non-drinking party boy who tried to bag a millionaire husband on Millionaire Matchmaker, got injections all over his face on Nip/Tuck knockoff¬†Pretty Hurts, and now he’s on Design Star.

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Jordan's appearance on Millionaire Matchmaker.

Most of Jordan’s portfolio consists of his own uber-tasteful apartment and collaborative work with fellow designer and BFF Vanessa De Vargas, so it seems like he’s been working primarly on furniture design as opposed to a lot of actual design consulting. If you troll his blog, there’s a huge leap in quality and taste level between what he’s done over the past year and what came before. Take his living room for example. His initial design looked like this:

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Then he got some sense in his head and eliminated those horrible wallpaper panels. Although the patterns in this room “should” work, the combination above doesn’t feel nearly as refined as this year’s incarnation:

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I get a distinct Emily Henderson (DS Season 5 winner) vibe from this room, with all of the navy, brass and vintage-meets-modern. That navy grasscloth is to die for–so elegant!

I’m also happy to see the update he gave his bedroom over the past year. His original design features another jarring combination of prints and wall art that fights with the wallpaper.

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Now the space looks infinitely more sophisticated, although I’m still aching for those curtain panels to morph into something more streamlined:

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I do love this bedroom he designed for a women’s shelter, full of savvy tricks for stretching a budget:

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The way Jordan reworked that laminate vanity is so genius. I am also really digging the thick black border on the plain door–that just screams hotel chic and doesn’t cost squat to pull off. I’m really impressed by this makeover. The other side of the room is really beautiful as well:

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Note the budget-friendly headboard decal.

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…although I’m bummed to see him repeat his own shower curtain design in the curtain panels above.

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Jordan's Venice Beach bathroom.

That kind of repetition is a buzzkill.

Furniture is where Jordan really shines, and his clear passion is lucite. I love this idea of encasing something old, particularly after reading that the vintage trunk belonged to the client’s grandparents:

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Jordan’s lucite side table has been featured in a myriad of shelter mags:

jordan_cappella_lucite_side_tableThere’s more where that came from:

Jordan's lucite ottoman was featured in Sunset magazine, among others.

Jordan's lucite ottoman was featured in Sunset magazine, among others.

Jordan's lucite coffee table was featured in Australian Home Beautiful.

Jordan's lucite coffee table was featured in Australian Home Beautiful.

Jordan admitted on his blog back in February that when his DIY efforts had been tested (vague reference to his Design Star experience before the cast was officially announced), “I was not impressed with my own abilities.” So I’m imagining that what we’ll get from Jordan are either a lot of great ideas that end up sucking when it comes down to execution, or he’ll dumb down his designs to work within the framework of his limited DIY skills. I remain cautiously optimistic but don’t see him as a sure thing to win the title.

HGTV’s seventh season of Design Star premieres May 29th. Stay tuned to Fu For Thought for another year of episodic critiques throughout the season!